In a small town in Kenya, Salama's mother collects and breaks limestone rocks to provide for her family. Fourteen-year-old Salama believed this would be her future too. But now, Salama has a chance to find a hope and dream beyond the quarry.

Watch Salama’s story here and discover a hope more powerful than poverty.

It’s a sweltering day in the coastal town of Malindi, Kenya, when Salama and her family are gathered to eat lunch. Their midday meal includes vegetables and ugali, a cornmeal porridge, that her mother, Kadzo has prepared for the family.

After lunch, Salama returns to school but Kadzo and baby Loice, travel back to the quarry where the search for limestone rocks continues.

Kadzo is one of many women in Kenya who rely on quarry work to earn a living. The day’s work consists of digging through dirt, collecting rocks and breaking the rocks into gravel. With the sun against her back, Kadzo will shovel the gravel into bags to sell to a construction company for roughly 20 cents per bag.

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As the breadwinner of the family, feeding the family is Kadzo’s responsibility but with an income of just A$17 a month, the cost of a babysitter is an expense Kadzo cannot afford.

“I do not wish to bring Loice to the quarry with me,” she says. “But if I miss a day, we all sleep hungry and that breaks my heart.”

Kadzo’s hands are permanently scarred and she has endured respiratory illnesses from the fine dust that fills the air with each blow from her hammer. But despite the challenges, Kadzo has not missed a day in the sun.

“I work this hard so that my children do not have to suffer in the future,” she says. “I desire that all my kids would have a good education and that their standards of living would improve. That is what drives me to keep me breaking rocks all day. It is hard work, but I know it is for a worthy cause.”

Kadzo desperately wants a different reality for her children, but until recently, breaking rocks was the only future that Salama could imagine.

“When Salama came in, she had a poor mentality about what she wants to do. She wanted to break stones like her mother,” remembers Evelyn, the director of the Compassion centres that Salama attends. “But through Compassion, she has opened up her mind and now she’s determined to be a teacher.”

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Providing children with hope and a chance to dream of a better future is a priority for teachers at the local Compassion centre.

Salama was registered in the Child Sponsorship Program in 2007. With the help of her sponsors, Salama’s school fees and supplies are covered.

The opportunity has provided her with an education and an exposure to a different way of life. It’s given her a chance to dream and hope for a life beyond the quarry.

“I want to become a teacher so that I can be a role model to the girls who are not as lucky as I am to have a role model in my project director, Evelyn,” declares Salama.

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Her proud mum has no doubt that one day, Salama will make a wonderful teacher.

“I am happy that Salama is sponsored and doesn’t have to assist me in breaking rocks,” says Kadzo. “I am so proud of Salama. She makes me very proud.”

Photos by Ben Adams

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